Abdominal ultrasound in the intensive care unit: a 3-year survey on 400 patients
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This study analyzed 400 ultrasound examinations in the ICU to assess the indications of this imaging modality.
Design and setting
Retrospective analysis on prospectively collected data on 400 patients in a tertiary care hospital.
Patients and participants
The observational, prospective, clinical study examined 400 bedside abdominal ultrasound examinations performed in the ICU, of which 2% were performed emergently, 56% urgently, and 42% electively.
Measurements and results
Environmental conditions impaired the examination slightly in 54%, moderately in 27%, and severely in 4%. Total time per study ranged from 1 to 45 min (median 10). New pathological findings were detected in 31% while 33% confirmed already known pathologies. In 53% there was no therapeutic consequence, in 27% treatment was continued based on the sonographic findings, in 10% an intervention was necessary, in 6% other therapeutic changes followed, and in 4% additional evaluation was deemed necessary. In 80% no other imaging test had to be performed.
Ultrasound studies are deemed sufficient in a large proportion of patients and help to avoid other, more elaborate imaging studies. However, more focused indications for studies may help to improve cost-effectiveness.